Passengers can now get the food of their choice delivered on trains.
You no longer have to depend on the limited menu of the IRCTC while travelling by train. Next time round, you can order the food of your choice online for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and get it delivered at the station of your choice, for the entire journey even if it is for four days.
The six-month-old service is now available at 120 stations and over 200 restaurants are on the network.
Thanks to Kochi-based start-up 11th Hour Innovations Pvt Ltd., set up by Arun Rajan, Rameez Ashraf, and Suchithra S., which has launched YatraChef to provide commuters their food of choice.
The passengers can order the food from the menu on www.yatrachef.com or with the help of a multi-lingual call centre (8137813700) between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The passenger has to enter the PNR or train number and date of journey.
YatraChef automatically generates the travel route of the train. The user can choose the station, check the menu, and place the order. Orders can be placed for Rs. 100 and above.
The commuters pay the amount only when the food is delivered. For this, the company has tied up with hotels, restaurants, food plazas, fast-food chains, and caterers across the country.
Rajan hit upon the idea during a train journey from Mumbai to Goa on New Year eve in 2013 when he noticed lack of good food during travel. Rajan, who did his Master’s in Logistics and Operations from the University of Sydney, and Company’s CEO, told The Hindu here on Friday that they had so far catered to over 10,000 orders on trains and the demand was rising.
His childhood friend Rameez Ashraf is the Head of the Process. Suchithra from Kollam, a B-Tech Computer Science graduate and MBA in International Business from London, joined them as Business Development Manager. They are supported by eight persons at the call centre and software operations.
Suresh G, who travelled from Chengannur to Bangalore recently, said he did not expect to be served food at Thrissur station as the train was running late. “The food was excellent, the way it was packed, very tasty, and there was sufficient quantity. I would rate it worth the money,” he says.
“We began with an investment of Rs.15 lakh. We used word of mouth publicity, Facebook and Twitter to spread the message. Seventy per cent of the orders were online and group orders above Rs. 2,000 come through call centre,” he said. The call centre makes a call to the traveller after the food is delivered.
“The business follows a revenue-sharing model. The aim is to provide at least three restaurants at all the listed station and to reach out to the people as more people want our service,” adds Suchithra.